Naira appreciates to N1,382/dollar, Presidency cautions speculators

The naira maintained a steady appreciation against the United States dollar on Thursday, gaining N18 to close 1,382/$ at the official market.

This came as Presidency warned currency speculators to desist from unpatriotic act against the national currency, saying racketeers would have their fingers burnt.

The naira gain came a day after the local currency recorded major gains at both the official and parallel foreign exchange markets. It closed at the black market at N1,400/dollar on Wednesday.

The summary of the FX trading auction revealed that naira appreciated by 1.3 percent following increased dollar supply at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, according to data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited.

 

The intraday high closed at N1,598 per dollar on Thursday, stronger than N1,620 it closed at on Wednesday. Also, the intraday low strengthened to N1,300/$ on the same day, stronger than N1,350/$1 closed at on the previous day.

The dollar supplied by FX market players increased to $288.47, an increase of $2 or 7.46 percent from $268.29 million recorded on Wednesdat from $195.13 million at NAFEM.

In the recent weeks, the naira has gained N500 against the dollar from it record low this year at the unofficial market, as the CBN builds confidence in FX market.

The Central Bank of Nigeria declared on Wednesday that it has successfully resolved all valid foreign exchange backlogs, as pledged by Governor Olayemi Cardoso, addressing inherited claims amounting to $7bn.

Hakama Sidi Ali, CBN’s acting director of corporate communications, conveyed this information in a statement sent via mail. She stated that the CBN finalised the payment of $1.5 billion to settle obligations to bank customers, thereby clearing the remaining balance of the FX backlog.

Cardoso emphasised the priority of clearing the FX backlog to enhance credibility and confidence in the Nigerian economy.

The strain on the naira/dollar exchange rate is gradually diminishing, with Nigeria’s external reserves showing sustained growth over the past month.

According to data from the CBN, foreign currency reserves rose by 3.62 percent to $34.37 billion as of March 12, 2024, compared to $33.17 billion recorded at the beginning of February 2024.

Additionally, the CBN reported a significant surge in Diaspora remittances, which skyrocketed by 433 percent to $1.3 billion in February, compared to $300 million in January

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has cautioned currency traders speculating on foreign exchange to sell their dollar holdings, stating that the naira is expected to increase in value soon.

He advised speculators to sell off their dollars to prevent potential losses swiftly.

Onanuga said, “With backlog FX settled, Naira is set to appreciate further, faster. Currency speculators should quickly dump their stock of dollars to avoid sorrows and tears.

On Wednesday, the naira closed trading at 1,410/dollar at the parallel market and N1,492 at the official Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, according to data compiled from the FMDQ Securities Exchange.

The gain recorded by the naira at the official market represents an appreciation of N68 or 4.5 per cent, from the N1,560/$1 recorded on Tuesday at NAFEM, and a gain of 13.5 per cent or N190 at the parallel market.

The naira has been gaining lately as speculators begin to dump their dollar stocks, following waning demand by prospective buyers amid CBN clampdowns.

A string of circulars by the Central Bank of Nigeria in recent weeks and months have helped to plug leakages and blocked loopholes previously explored by currency speculators and racketeers.

Also, the recent clampdowns on the activities of illegal BDC operators in Lagos, Abuja and Kano by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have helped to reduce the volatility of the naira.

<<Punch>>